Those of you who follow this section will wonder why products in the high-end 3-D graphics space keep popping up. Admittedly, your editor's dream to work for Pixar has (foolishly) not yet been dashed. This month, we'll see a new book title about Autodesk's Maya package, titled Learning Maya 7: Foundation with DVD. The book is authored by Maya's creators at Autodesk and published by Sybex's Autodesk Maya Press imprint. Maya is a powerful program used by the film, TV and computer/video game industries for 3-D modeling, animation, effects and rendering. And, Maya runs on Linux as well. This full-color book uses a real, forthcoming Hollywood film as material for its tutorials, teaching readers animation, modeling, texturing and visual effects. Also included is a DVD with instructor-led tutorial videos and other extra features. (Psst! Anyone out there with connections at Pixar who can hook me up?)
The word vyatta means “open” in ancient Sanskrit, and this relatively new company that has taken on the moniker is applying this philosophy of openness to routers. Vyatta's product, the Open Flexible Router (OFR), is reputed to be the IT industry's first enterprise-grade, open-source router platform. OFR allows users to utilize industry-standard x86 hardware to “create a high-performance router for WAN and LAN routing” that offers “dramatically improved price/performance and open flexibility” vis-à-vis closed-source solutions. Vyatta targets OFR at mid-sized enterprises or branch offices of larger ones. Product benefits include not only all standard routing protocols and high-availability and security features, but also the ability to customize the product and add features as needed. The latter is intended to give users flexibility in managing future requirements on their own terms rather than relying on the actions of closed-source vendors. In addition, both free and paid support options exist. Free support comes in the form of the Vyatta Community, which includes tools, discussions, blogs and newsfeeds. Paid support includes tiered subscription packages customized to the user's needs. The OFR software is available for free from Vyatta's Web site.
Hear ye, hear ye, all TV freaks! SageTV recently released a product dubbed SageTV Media Center, which, according to the the company, allows you to turn a Linux-based computer into a full-featured PVR and media center. In addition, you can utilize the Placeshifter option to watch your entire home-based media library from any remote computer with high-speed Internet access. Furthermore, the Media Center also can interact with SageTV's related product, the Wireless Media Extender, which allows every TV in the home to access all live or recorded media content from the Media Center independently without a need for a PVR on each set. Meanwhile, a central, unified media library is maintained. SageTV claims that one can set up a complete, full-home media center for hundreds rather than thousands of dollars for other solutions, and there is no need to pay subscription fees for PVR capabilities.
Sage Software (no relation to SageTV above) recently announced a new version, now Release 5.4, of its Sage Accpac ERP business management system. In essence, Sage Accpac ERP is a Web-enabled accounting and business management solution for integrated business management applications, including CRM, POS, HR, inventory management and so forth. It can be deployed either on-site or on-line. New user features in Version 5.4 include a new returns management (RMA) module and 267 other product enhancements, such as improved multi-currency tax accounting. A new technical feature of Accpac ERP is its compatibility with Intel and AMD 64-bit processors. Also of interest to the Linux crowd is the ability of Sage Accpac ERP to run simultaneously on both Linux and Windows clients in parallel against the same database, be it DB2, Oracle, PSQL or Microsoft SQL.
James Gray is Products Editor for Linux Journal
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